The True Adventures Of Youthly Puresome ORAL TRADITION #406 or COMMANDER'S MOON, (NOT)
(The Oral Tradition being the retelling of Hoary stories passed from barstool to barstool, from gray-bearded commanders down to the young, manly men who populate the back rows of ready rooms….)
There wasn't a commander's moon out. No commanders, either. But Puresome was. It was real dark. And Puresome wasn't having a good night.
Power...Power..Don't climb! hollered Paddles as Puresome once again sunk into the mysterious black suck-hole behind the ship, crammed on too much power, and sailed over the top of all four arresting wires, his tailhook leaving nothing but sparks on the flight deck.
"Bolter! Bolter!" radioed a disgusted Paddles as the position lights of Puresome's A-4 disappeared into the darkness off the angle deck.
"Young Puresome's got a bit of wind up tonight, if you don't mind me saying so, sir," yelled an assistant LSO, who had just written a highly lyrical, thirty-line description of Puresome's last pass at the blunt end of the boat, as seen by the grizzled senior LSO holding the pickle. "Yes..but, then, don't we all?" yelled Paddles back at the little group huddled on the platform against the wind, rain, and clouds of stack gas the boat's engineer had conveniently blown in time for Puresome's approach. "Or do we?" he added cryptically. His assistant dutifully added these comments to Puresome's pass in the LSO book.
"Yaaaaaaa!" Puresome screamed into his oxygen mask, "this can't be happening to me--I'm too good...Had to be a hook skip...Pitching deck...Paddles suckered me into it...Vertigos were in my eyes...Hole in my glove, and I had a headache....."
Puresome's search for a convenient rationalization for temporarily looking bad was interrupted by the necessity of recovering from the unusual attitude the twitchy little A-4 had managed while the driver was absent without leave from flying instruments.
“Yaaaaaaa!” Puresome screamed into his oxygen mask with the true knowledge that 600 feet over the ocean at night was not the time to lose your instrument scan. It had almost led to the dreaded "bust your hiney" syndrome. Puresome locked onto the ABBA JABBA gyro horizon and concentrated on keeping the shiny side up as a starter.
"Sidewinder 411, say your state," queried someone safe in CATC with a cigar and a cup of coffee.
Puresome had time for a stick, a rudder, a throttle, and no time for any instrument as peripheral as a fuel gage. Especially no time for dumb shit questions, like "say your state."
“Ax me something in the middle," squeaked 411.
Annoying things like "say your state," or "say your gross" involved totaling up tank quantities or bombs and stuff hanging under wings. Even in better moments, it took all Puresome's willpower not to say "West Texas," or, "you're gross," instead of doing the figgerin. Puresome held to holistic views, like "a whole bunch," or "not enough!"
Naturally, management took a dim view of this kind of thing, and once his skipper and the air boss had invited Puresome in for a little senior citizen vivisection of a J.O. after the ship had asked him, "say your position," and Puresome had replied, "Doggy!"
But, finally, Puresome was able to take one eyeball off the ABBA JABBA and slew it over for a quick peek at the fuel gage, which indicated a tad more than not enough. Buoyed by this information, Puresome grasped ahold of himself for one more shot at the deck before he had to try and find the tanker, which he really did not want to do in the bumpy darkness.
So Puresome settled down, stooged around the CCA pattern, fought the suck hole to a draw, and impacted the deck acceptably.
“Yes! Are we not men?" exulted Puresome as the two-wire dragged him to a halt.
Safely back in the ready room, Puresome was greeted by a bunch of touching, caring, sharing, feeling, nurturing, supportive sixties kind of guys, who had decorated the black board with witty sayings and cartoons and were very helpful with his self-image.
Since Bolter Harassment Coordinator was one of Puresome's collateral duties, he expected no less when it was his time in the barrel. However, their mindless critiques were as the babble of fishwives.
“I may have boltered some, but it wasn' t because I'm not good," Puresome explaned to Weed on the way up to the Dirty Shirt Wardroom for double cheeseburgers mit egg and jolly green bug juice.
Weed just nodded. It was absolutely, without doubt, the only thing to say.
ORAL TRADITION #406 or COMMANDER'S MOON, (NOT) is copyright 1997 by Jack Woodul
The True Adventures